Last week, a very insightful listener wrote to ask that we address the relationship between the Stupak Amendment and an organization known as the Family. Many members of Congress are part of this organization which is described as an evangelical group bent on ushering their conservative religious agenda through these cultivated ties to those in power. Well, as in all things related to the Family, let’s turn to the man who (literally) wrote the book on the subject. Jeff Sharlet – author of The Family: The Secret Fundamentalism At the Heart of American Power – has a telling piece over at Salon Magazine in which he describes Stupak’s relationship with the group. Bottom line: Is the Family responsible for the amendment? No, says Sharlet but there’s no denying the organization’s ties to Stupak and Congressman Joseph Pitts, Stupak’s co-author on the amendment. Sharlet writes:
Although Stupak is a Catholic, he’s lived since at least 2002 in the C Street house run by the Family, which cultivates political leaders on behalf of a long-term vision of what Joe Pitts, speaking at last year’s National Prayer Breakfast (the group’s only public event), called “God-led government.” After the summer sex scandals of Sen. John Ensign, Gov. Mark Sanford and former Rep. Chip Pickering, C Streeters all, made the Capitol Hill address infamous, Stupak denied any knowledge about the house he lives in. “I don’t know what you’re talking about,” Stupak told Michigan reporters when asked about his residence in the house, where he’s been enjoying below-market rent for the last seven years, courtesy of C Street’s tax-exempt status as a church.
In related news, the bloggers over at Talk2Action report that the Family’s C Street abode is tax exempt no more. The District will begin collecting property taxes on the group’s headquarters and rightfully so. Only houses of worship are tax exempt and just because Congressmen might meet there for prayers cells, that doesn’t make this private home a church. Read more.